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  • Ruth Napier

Outsourcing marketing services - top tips for getting started

Neon sign red on black, reading Game On

Thinking about outsourcing PR, communications, or digital marketing activities to an agency? Here are my top ten tips for getting started:

1. Treat the procurement as a project where you are the project manager: own the plan, timeline, communications and dependencies to ensure it runs smoothly 🏃‍♀️

2. Set the timeline for the procurement allowing time for

👍 agreeing the scope and budget

👍 finalising the brief/RFP

👍 agencies to prepare their response

👍 evaluating responses

👍 shortlisting and interviewing

👍 selection

👍 appointing and debriefing unsuccessful agencies

👍 onboarding

3. Involve key internal stakeholders, gain their buy-in and participation to the process

4. Be clear about your goals

What is the reason for outsourcing and what does success look like? Clearly articulating this in your brief/RFP and sharing it with any prospective agencies helps them understand the context to the work and can help avoid mis-steps.

5. Set the budget and know what level of cost breakdown you need to have to make your decision. There's no point in just asking for an all-in cost if the agencies don't all include the same services.

6. How will you decide which agency to give the work to?

Prioritise and weight your evaluation criteria. It is rarely simply a matter of choosing the cheapest supplier.

7. Create your brief/RFP

Remember to include:

🖊 background on your firm, its market position and clients, business goals and challenges

🖊 the scope of work at a sufficient level of detail to ensure the agency understands the full picture: for example if you’re building a website do you need front-end design and back-end development experience, will you need data migrated, will you want the site hosted?

🖊 any current issues, challenges or potential barriers to success

🖊 your evaluation criteria

🖊 timeline, including deadlines for responses and a date for the final selection

and don't forget to include your contact details

8. Identify, research and compile profiles of potential agencies who can deliver the work.

Ask people you trust for recommendations if you are short of candidates.

9. Select which agencies you will share the brief with.

Reach out to the agencies to assess interest, initial fit and finalise the ones you will send the brief to.

Depending on your conversations, either they or you may choose to take them out of the process at this stage.

10. Finalise and issue your brief/RFP and await the responses!

Article originally published on LinkedIn, April 2023.

Looking for assistance with agency procurement or outsourcing marketing services?

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